Last updated Monday July 31st
On Sunday, Canada won bronze at the FIBA World Cup for Women’s Under-19 Basketball in Madrid. Aiding in the team’s win was Jessica Roque, who is currently the head coach of the UW’s women’s basketball team.
This is the team’s second win since 2017 where they beat Japan with a score of 67-60. This year, they won against France with an 80-73 victory in overtime. Canada was led by a star trio of forwards Toby Fournier and Cassndre Prosper and guard Syla Swords. Each of them finished in the top 15 in scoring and at the 15-plus point per game mark.
Rocque, who led the UW women’s basketball team to first place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west tournament earlier this year, said that the main distinguishing factor between a national team and university team is season length.
“With a national team, we don’t have a ton of time together. With the group we finished coaching, we probably had a practice and a half collectively as a full team before we went into actual world competition. That’s very, very different from our UW team, [where] we would get weeks upon weeks together and mind you, our season’s a lot longer [than] just a tournament weekend of five games.”
She added that there’s additional differences in age and skill with both leagues. “With a national team, you’re dealing with the best under- 19 athletes arguably in the world, and for sure in our country. At UW, the age group is a little older, the skill level is still high level, high-performance, high-quality athletes, but it’s a different environment and different circumstances.”
Rocque said that she ultimately enjoyed her time with the national team and plans to apply what she’s learned from nationals to her coaching at UW.
“I think any time I can step away from my day-to-day environment, it’s a good refresher for myself as a coach. Even just getting to learn from our opponent and our other high-performing staff members, it’s always exciting to have something to bring back to our staff so we can grow better throughout the year.”
With files from Nadia Khan.